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Gianlorenzo Bernini, who came from Naples, became the most important sculptor in Rome under Pope Gregory XV, who knighted him, and Pope Urban VIII.  His reputation suffered when cracks appeared in the bell tower that he had designed for St Peter's in 1641 and it had to be demolished.  When Urban VIII died in 1644, Pope Innocent X appointed Alessandro Algardi as papal court sculptor.  Bernini’s career recovered after Aligardi’s death in 1654 and the accession of Pope Alexander VII (1655-67).


Busts of Bartolomeo and Diana Roscioli (17th century)


Giovanni Maria Roscioli probably commissioned these portrait busts of his parents in Rome, where he was a prominent member of the court of Pope Urban VIII.  When the family died out in 1703, these bust formed part of its art collection that passed the Cathedral Chapter. They were placed in the Roscioli chapel of the Duomo in 1709 and subsequently moved to niches in the sacristy.  They were neglected by art historians until the early 20th century, when Michele Faloci Pulignani recognised them as works by Gianlorenzo Bernini.  They are now the Museo Diocesano.

The busts are attributed on stylistic grounds to different phases of Bernini’s career:

  1. The bust of Bartolomeo Roscioli was probably executed in ca. 1635, some two years before he died. 

  2. The posthumous bust of his wife, Diana may well have been associated with a bequest made by Giovanni Maria Roscioli to Bernini when he died in 1644. 


Works in Palazzo della Penna

These works from the art collection of the Perugian art historian Valentino Martinelli (1923-1999), which is exhibited in Palazzo della Penna, reflect his professional interest in the work of Gianlorenzo Bernini.

Model of a Lost Soul (ca. 1619)

This papier-mâché head is a copy of a marble figure (1619) that Bernini executed, together with a pendant female head representing the Blessed Soul, for Monsignor Pedro de Foix Montoya.  The two marble heads are in the Spanish Embassy in Palazzo di Spagna, Rome.  The head of the Lost Soul seems to have been a self-portrait.

The copy in Perugia has been painted to look like bronze.  It is possible that Bernini made into see how it would translate into this medium.

Christ Bound (1625-30)

This finished clay model, which was signed by Bernini (“L. Bern”) before firing, was probably made in preparation for a bronze figure.

Medallions of Pope Clement X (17th century


Martinelli’s collection of papal medallions includes these two of Pope Clement X (1670-6), which are based on a lost drawing by Bernini:

  1. one in terracotta; and

  2. one in gilded bronze.

Equestrian Figure (ca. 1661)

This terracotta preparatory model was made for an equestrian monument to King Louis XIV of France.   Cardinal Jules Mazarin commissioned this huge statue from Bernini in 1661 for the top of the Spanish Steps in Rome.  However, the plan excited vocal opposition and was never executed. 

Portrait of Johann Paul Schor (ca. 1660)

This portrait in oils of the Austrian artist Johann Paul Schor (known in Italian as Giovanni Paolo Tedesco) is one of the few paintings that are securely attributed to Bernini.  The two men worked together at St Peter’s, Rome in the 1650s and 1660s.

Crucifixes (17th century)


These two small gilded bonze models were designed by Bernini and made by Ercole Ferrata.


Bust of Pope Urban VIII (1640-4)

A surviving document records that Pope Urban VIII commissioned this bronze bust from Gianlorenzo Bernini for the Duomo of Spoleto.  The commission was made in memory of his years as its archbishop of the city (1608-17).  The bust arrived in Spoleto in 1644 (the year in which Urban VIII died) and was placed in the niche in the inscription on the counter-facade of the Duomo that commemorates the contribution made by his nephew, Cardinal Francesco Barberini, towards the remodelling of the church.  It was replaced by a copy in 1998, when the original was moved to the Museo Diocesano.

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Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) 

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